The University Record, February 15, 1993

LS&A ponders quantitative reasoning requirement

Requiring LS&A students to take a good quantitative reasoning course should make things better, not harder, for students who don’t think quantitatively.

At least that is the intent, Michael M. Martin, associate dean for undergraduate education, told his colleagues at LS&A’s faculty meeting last Monday.

Unfortunately some see a quantitative reasoning requirement as merely a new barrier thrown up to impede progress by students who have debilitating math anxieties or seriously deficient math backgrounds, Martin acknowledged.

Martin’s comments were aimed at clearing up some misunderstandings regarding the possible addition of a quantitative reasoning requirement for undergraduates.

LS&A is considering a quantitative reasoning requirement, not a mathematics proficiency requirement, Martin said.

He also noted that LS&A is not considering enacting this new requirement to force social science and humanities students to take a math, statistics or science course.

“It was always the intent to have courses approved that are offered by social science and humanities departments and that are attractive to students from those areas,” explained Martin, who is also professor of biology.

To help this aspect of the proposal, two additional faculty members, Michael W. Traugott, professor of communication, and Rosina L. Lippi-Green, assistant professor of Germanic languages and literature, have joined the committee that is exploring the merits of adding a quantitative reasoning requirement to graduation requirements.

Martin also reported that such a requirement, if approved, would be implemented in fall 1994, not in fall 1993 as earlier discussed.